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February 1, 2024
How to

How to generate and use QR codes in spreadsheets?

Let's dive into the world of QR codes as a powerful tool for enhancing data utilization and accessibility in your online spreadsheet!

Arzu Özkan-  Digital Marketing Manager
Arzu Özkan
Head of Marketing

Every day, easier and smarter methods are appearing to access information. Versatile tools that connect the physical and digital world, such as QR codes, are now a big part of our lives. Now, even when we go to a restaurant, it is almost impossible to see the paper menu. Of course, there are many reasons for this, but if we think in the simplest way, it is very easy to make any changes in the digital environment instead of printing hundreds of new menus for every change made in the menu. Or, when you go to a store, it is possible to access more detailed information about the product by scanning the QR codes on the products. QR codes are used like data pills today. Although QR codes have many different use cases, they have been indispensable tools for many years, especially for product inventories.

So, is it possible to combine QR codes with spreadsheets that we use a lot in our daily life? For example, wouldn't it be nice to create a QR code for a Google Form and share it with anyone through this code? Or wouldn't it be helpful to add the QR codes of some URLs in your online spreadsheets? If you are curious about how to create QR codes in Excel, Google Sheets and Retable, let's dive deep into this topic together!

Table of contents

What is a QR code?

Well, for those new to this world, let's start with the basics. Essentially, QR code is the abbreviation of the term "Quick Response Code". It basically converts any information into a visually scannable format. You can also liken it to a barcode. QR codes are widely used in many industries as they provide quick access to any information.

Classic QR codes consist of black squares forming a square shape on a white background. However, nowadays there are interesting alternatives to QR codes. Especially recently, we come across designers who transform QR codes into artworks.

how to use qr codes in spreadsheets

QR codes can store many types of data such as URLs, texts, contact information, email addresses, phone numbers, and product information. Moreover, it is now possible to scan QR codes even with mobile phone cameras. You do not need a QR code scanner to access this information.

Due to its ease of use and prevalence, it is possible to see QR codes in many areas such as inventory management, data tracking, and marketing. The ability of QR codes to connect physical objects to the digital world makes them a bridge between the digital and physical worlds.

Benefits of using QR codes in spreadsheets

Spreadsheets and QR codes... Yes, both have been a big part of our lives for many years. What about using them together?

QR codes and spreadsheets are important elements of our data management operations. When you combine these, you can significantly increase efficiency in your data management operations. Let's check together some of the benefits of using QR codes in spreadsheets.

Efficient Data Entry: One of the major benefits of using QR codes in spreadsheets is effective data entry. QR codes are important tools to prevent manual data entry mistakes and loss of time. When entering data into your spreadsheets, you can easily refer to the main source of data by using QR codes. Thus, you can avoid the errors and time loss that may occur in manual data entry. In addition, since QR codes can contain a wide variety of data, you can add any information to your spreadsheets via QR codes, while preserving your data integrity without breaking the structure of your spreadsheet.

Accessibility: One of the most appealing things about using QR codes in your spreadsheets is their accessibility. Instead of adding a URL column in your spreadsheet to add links you want to direct, you can add QR codes so that these URLs can be easily accessed from the table prints. Thus, you can create a seamless and accessible connection between the real and digital worlds.

Streamlined Inventory Management: Today, spreadsheets are one of the most widely used tools for inventory management. In addition, QR codes are an indispensable element of inventory management. With the QR codes you will place on your products, you can easily view and update all the information about your product from a single digital platform. So your product data always will be up to date.

QR codes offer a variety of benefits that can enhance the functionality of your spreadsheets. Thanks to the potential of QR codes, such as convenience and accessibility, you can streamline your spreadsheet operations and increase data accessibility.

Inserting QR codes into spreadsheets

Inserting QR codes into spreadsheets is a straightforward yet transformative process that seamlessly bridges physical information with digital accessibility. This integration empowers users to interact with data on a whole new level. To accomplish this, various spreadsheet software offers intuitive methods for QR code insertion. In Microsoft Excel, for instance, you can utilize add-ins or online tools to generate QR codes and then insert them as images into cells, creating dynamic links to websites, product details, or contact information. In Google Sheets, the "Insert" menu allows you to directly insert images of QR codes or use scripting to dynamically generate and display QR codes based on cell contents. Retable, on the other hand, provides a QR code column, so users can create QR codes directly with the data in their spreadsheets without the need for any additional software. This simple act of embedding QR codes within cells unlocks a realm of possibilities, from enabling instant website access to facilitating inventory management and contact sharing, making your spreadsheet an interactive hub of information.

Inserting QR Codes into Spreadsheets

Adding QR codes to Microsoft Excel

There are multiple ways to add QR codes to Excel. This may seem complicated at first, but you can easily do it after a few tries. Excel QR code generators have been used by many Excel users for many years. For this reason, many alternatives have developed over time. If you need to use a QR code in Excel let's see how to create a QR code for an Excel spreadsheet!

Excel QR code add-ins

Excel QR code add-ins are one of the most preferred Excel QR code generators. Also, Excel QR code addons are frequently preferred by users as they have been developed more over time.

Let's see how to use Excel QR code add-ins!

Adding QR Codes in Microsoft Excel
  • Open the Excel spreadsheet where you want to insert QR codes
  • Click on the "Insert" tab, then navigate to the "add-ins" section, then click on the "Store"
  • Search for QR
Adding QR Codes in Microsoft Excel
  • Choose a QR code plugin and then click on the add button
  • Type the link you want to create a QR code for
  • Customize your QR code
  • Click on the insert button. The add-in will automatically add a QR code on the selected cell.
  • Repeat the same process for all cells

Doing this for each cell is a time-consuming process. If you are working with big data and you need a lot of QR codes, it will be time-consuming for you. You should also keep in mind that these QR code generator plugins are developed by various developers and are not Excel's own tools.

Using Kutools

Kutools is one of the Excel add-ins that adds more functionality to Excel. One of the most widely used features of Kutools is QR code generation for Excel spreadsheets.

The most important feature of Kutools is that you don't need to create QR codes for each cell separately. Once you activate Kutools' QR code generator, it can automatically generate QR code for as many cells as you want.

Here are the steps to create QR codes on Excel using Kutools;

  • Download and install Kutools
  • Open the spreadsheet that you want to generate QR codes for
  • Click Kutools >Insert > Insert QR Code
using Kutools to generate qr codes in Excel
  • Select the data cells that you want to insert the QR codes based on. Choose the cells where to locate the QR codes under the Data Range and Insert Range separately
  • Then customize your QR codes to your need in the Options section
  • Click the Generate button, then the QR codes will be inserted into the cells
using Kutools for qr code generation in Excel

Adding QR codes to Google Sheets

Just like in Excel, there is more than one way to create QR codes in Google Sheets. Let's learn how to create QR codes in Google Sheets together!

Google Charts API

If you want to create QR codes for any URL, you can do this directly within Google Sheets. With the help of the Google Charts API, which includes QR code generation features you do not need any external tools.

You can call Google Charts API directly from within a Google Sheets formula and use it to create QR codes for any URL.

To create QR codes in Google Sheets:

  • Create a Google Sheets document.
  • Select a cell and type your URL
  • Select a different cell, and type the following formula: =IMAGE(""&URLKODLA(A1))
  • You can customize the formula to your needs. For example, you can change the size of the QR code from 500x500 to 200x200. You should also change ‘A1’ to the location of the cell containing your URL.
  • Press Enter and your QR code is ready!
Adding QR Codes to Google Sheets
  • If you want to create multiple QR codes, you can place all the URLs that you want to create QR codes for in one column.
  • Then, click the corner of the cell containing your first QR code and drag it down
Adding QR Codes to google sheets

QR code generator addons

Another way to create QR codes in your Google Sheets is with add-ons. You can find hundreds of QR code generators on the Google Workspace Marketplace. Remember that these add-ons are third-party tools and you must grant various permissions and authorizations to use them with your Google Sheets. This is not a very safe method.

To generate a QR code in your Google Sheets with add-ons;

  • Go to Extensions > QR Code Maker > Insert QR Code.
  • This will open a sidebar for the add-on. Enter the URL for the QR code into the box at the top. Then, click "Generate."

Adding QR codes to Retable

Here we come to the easiest part! There is only one way to create QR codes on your Retable spreadsheets and it's super easy.
Retable has a 'QR Code' column type so you can quickly create QR codes in your online spreadsheets. QR Code column type automatically converts all URLs you add to this column to the QR code. You can also easily customize these QR codes.

Retable's QR Code column type also supports a range of data formats, including Whatsapp, Skype, Phone Number, and Email. This means that you can easily create QR codes for your contact information, allowing others to quickly add you to their contact list. Or create QR codes for your business information, allowing potential customers to quickly and easily contact you.

Let's see how to create QR codes on your Retable spreadsheets;

  • Create a “QR Code” column
  • Type a URL, Whatsapp, Skype, Phone Number or Email data in your QR Code column’s cell
  • The QR Code column will automatically generate a unique QR Code for your entry
  • You can expand your cell by clicking the expand icon directly near your cell and see the QR Code
  • You can also change the color and background color of your QR Code

Now, you’re ready to share your QR codes!  


Let's wrap up! If you are a Google Sheets, Retable or Excel user, there are several ways to create QR codes on your online spreadsheets. Some of these methods are more complex than others and you need to use third-party tools. Others make things super easy and help you easily create QR codes in your online spreadsheets without the need for any third-party tools. You can increase efficiency in your spreadsheets by using the most functional of these methods for you.

Frequently asked questions about QR codes

1) How do QR codes work within spreadsheets?

In spreadsheets, QR codes serve as interactive gateways, allowing users to access information quickly by scanning the code with a smartphone or QR code reader. This data can include URLs, text, contact details, or other types of information.

2) Can I create QR codes directly within spreadsheet software, or do I need external tools?

While some spreadsheets, like Retable, Excel and Google Sheets, might offer QR code generation as a built-in feature, external QR code generators are often used for more customization and flexibility. These tools allow you to encode various types of data and choose design options before inserting the generated QR code image into your spreadsheet. But if you want to connect these external tools with your online spreadsheet tool you need to grant access to these tools. This could not be safe for your business or private data.

3) How do I ensure the QR codes I generate remain scannable and functional over time?

To ensure scanability, avoid resizing QR codes drastically and ensure good contrast between the code and background. Regularly test generated QR codes with different devices and scanners to confirm their functionality.

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